Where I grew up there is a little outdoor sporting goods store that I love to visit. It is sandwiched between a Mexican restaurant and an old magazine and tobacco store. Its location is nondescript and doesn’t get very much attention. However, once you’re inside – it is a whole new world. The sights, sounds and smells take you somewhere special. There are pictures of world famous climbers. They are always the first to have the newest climbing, skiing, and camping equipment. The employees actually use the gear they sell. They can tell you where the best snow is, or where the best campsite is. They recognize you when you walk in and will ask how the jacket you bought last winter is holding up. Sure, there may be illicit smells wafting from the employee break room, but that’s just how it is. That is what small businesses are- unique and custom tailored to the local community; providing a product or a service with you in mind.

Many people dream of running their own business, setting their own hours, and getting involved with their local communities. How do you make it happen?

1) Recognize something you have experience in, knowledge of, or are just plain passionate about.

Consider your favorite small business, and what you love about it. Why you shop there and not somewhere else. What is it that they offer that the big box stores don’t? Can they give you specific answers to your questions? Help pick the best product for you and your situation.

2) Determine a location that fits your target customer.

You don’t see many surf shops in the desert, likewise your location should be close to your customers! Not sure where to locate? That leads us to our next point…

3) Be found.

This is an important step for most small businesses. What if you’re a plumber and could be located almost anywhere? How will customers find you? You also need to be discoverable. Make sure your business utilizes the internet; so people can find you on Google maps, or on review services like Yelp or Trip Advisor.

4) Spread the word.

Get out there and talk about your product. Get to know other small businesses. Use social media. Subscribe to newsletters, publications, or journals that discuss issues in your local community that will affect your business. Offer special deals, because sometimes all it takes is a foot in the door!

Running a small business is exciting and rewarding. Not sure where to start? Check out the resources on our site to help. Got questions? Post a comment here on our blog, tweet us @mycorporation or ask a question on Facebook!